Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones

Second Grave on the Left
Darynda Jones
Charley Davidson #2

The indomitable Charley Davidson returns in Second Grave on the Left, where she is faced with a missing persons case that has her stumped. And as if that's not enough, she has to find where her boyfriend's stashed his body before he can get it killed. 

Second Grave on the Left is 84 percent fluff. And granted, it's fairly fun fluff, but if you're looking for something with depth and substance, look elsewhere. This book takes a similar tone to its predecessor, First Grave on the Right - light and funny, sometimes a little overly so.

I find it somewhat difficult to believe that Charley takes so little seriously, particularly considering her improbable depth of knowledge and experience. She seems to just sort of flit from scene to scene with no real plan or thought, while her "assistant" Cookie does all the real work. She rarely listens to anyone else's advice or opinion, however logical it may be. Not that she's not funny, because she is, but it would be more believable and more relatable if she at least occasionally didn't think the most reasonable response to any given situation was a joke.

I'm not actually sure there are any other characters in this book. There basically just seems to be Charley, and Other People Who Exist To Facilitate The Plot/Jokes. Everyone else is an afterthought to the brilliance that is Charley Davidson. She has her Sidekick, her (Wise) Old Mentor, her Love Interest, various villains, etc. and they're little more than the archetypes they represent.

However, at about the two-thirds point in the book, I forgot my other concerns and was able to really enjoy it. The story picked up and the suspense overcame an endless litany of mediocre wisecracks. The quality of the last third was enough to distract me from the various irritations of this book. Despite the problems I had with Second Grave on the Left, I'm sure I'll read the third book when it comes out.

So I leave this one up to you, avid readers. Don't take this review to mean I didn't like the book - I did, with the previously mentioned reservations that made up a smaller portion of the book than the review. Presumably you know what you like, and you can decide whether you would enjoy a fun book with the flaws I've described. But you'll probably want to start with the first book.

Plot: 3 cupcakes
Characters: 2 cupcakes
Style: 3 cupcakes
Overall: 3 cupcakes

GARS Score: 0.83 (2/3/4/2)
What's a GARS Score?

If you liked Second Grave on the Left, try:
Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn
Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill

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